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Lockheed Martin Sells One-third Of Its Inmarsat Equity For More Than $100 Million

By | September 21, 2000

      Lockheed Martin Corp. [LMT] has agreed to sell about one-third of its equity interest in Inmarsat Ventures Ltd. to Telenor, the largest Norwegian carrier, for more than $100 million.

      Lockheed Martin’s equity in Inmarsat will be reduced from slightly more than 22 percent to about 14 percent, while Telenor’s will grow from 6.8 percent to slightly more than 15 percent, the companies said. This will make Telenor Inmarsat’s largest stakeholder.

      Inmarsat has transformed itself from a purely intergovernmental organization to a private company, but the shares are still held mostly by the former government-designated organizations.

      Lockheed Martin Global Telecommunications spokesman Thomas Surface said the company will realize an after-tax gain of more than $100 million on the sale. Since the investment in Inmarsat was made by Comsat, rather than Lockheed Martin, the sum will amount to an almost-immediate partial repayment, albeit a small one, for the almost $2.7 billion that Lockheed Martin paid for Comsat.

      Beyond that, Surface said Lockheed Martin Global Telecommunications wanted to “balance its portfolio” of telecom services. Rather than approaching prospective customers with a heavy orientation toward the satellite services it acquired from Comsat, he said, LMGT wants to market a broader menu of services and a diversity of media.

      This will mean that Lockheed Martin Global Telecommunications, or Comsat, will provide submarine cable services, where that is appropriate, he added.

      For Telenor, “This transaction illustrates that Telenor is dedicated to the global mobile satellite communications sector,” said Stig Eide Sivertsen, chief executive of Telenor Broadband Services. The Inmarsat shares will be held by Telenor Satellite Services, a subsidiary of Telenor Broadband Services.

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